Return to the TAGALOG ArchiveForward to the Current TAGALOG discuss

senator16Wednesday 13th of April 2005 08:22:12 AM

Filipino (Tagalog) is the national language of the Philippines and the cultural thread that keeps Filipinos all over the world in touch with their roots. To promote cross-cultural and transnational understanding and mutual appreciation, wide access to the Filipino language is essential.

Philippine history has strong links with the United States. The country was an American colony from 1900 - 1946. Cooperation between the Philippines and the United States had continued through World War II, in the post-Independence period, and well into the present global economy. In part, because of this strong ties, Filipinos comprise a significant minority in the United States.

Currently, there are about a million Filipinos in the US, and more are coming every year. This increase in the number of Filipinos (predicted to exceed the Chinese by the year 2000) is likely to have a greater impact on American politics and social concerns. This trend therefore requires educating Americans about the Philippines in general and, more specifically, providing our schools and community organizations with materials that help the Filipino-Americans to participate more easily and widely in the life of our nation.

According to the 1990 United States Census, Tagalog is the second most commonly-spoken Asian language in the United States, and the sixth non-English language spoken in America. Tagalog is the lingua franca of the Filipinos anywhere in the world. Most Southeast Asian scholars use Tagalog as the tool for research in the Philippines. It is the language of major works in literature and that of Philippine films and songs.

A growing number of American universities are regularly offering courses in Tagalog. The expansion of the field can be illustrated by the following facts: in the 1960s, only Hawaii and UCLA were offering regularly-listed courses in Tagalog. Today, Tagalog courses are offered every year at the University of California at Berkeley, UCLA, Cornell University, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin (Madison), Loyola Marymount University, University of Pennsylvania, Northern Illinois University, University of Pittsburg, and San Francisco State University, all of which recently joined nationwide consortium to promote teaching Tagalog